Cell-type specific features of circular RNA expression

PLoS Genet. 2013;9(9):e1003777. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003777. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


Thousands of loci in the human and mouse genomes give rise to circular RNA transcripts; at many of these loci, the predominant RNA isoform is a circle. Using an improved computational approach for circular RNA identification, we found widespread circular RNA expression in Drosophila melanogaster and estimate that in humans, circular RNA may account for 1% as many molecules as poly(A) RNA. Analysis of data from the ENCODE consortium revealed that the repertoire of genes expressing circular RNA, the ratio of circular to linear transcripts for each gene, and even the pattern of splice isoforms of circular RNAs from each gene were cell-type specific. These results suggest that biogenesis of circular RNA is an integral, conserved, and regulated feature of the gene expression program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Exons / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Poly A / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA / biosynthesis
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA Splicing / genetics
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Poly A
  • RNA